Champions Boards - An Overview
Radical, systemic change is needed if we are to see an improvement in outcomes for looked after young people. This systemic shift can only occur with significant cultural change. It requires the attitudes of professionals, communities, policy makers and leaders towards care experienced young people to become more focused on the needs and aspirations of young people themselves.
The Trust’s commitment to putting young people in the ‘driving seat’ and genuinely focus on listening to and valuing their input is the cornerstone of the Care Experienced Young People’s Programme Strategy.
Champions Boards provide a unique opportunity for young people to have a voice, be empowered and influence policy and practice across all sectors.
Champions Boards are forums which create a unique space for care experienced young people to meet with key decision-makers, service leads and elected members to influence the design and delivery of services which directly affect them.
Champions Boards are also a mechanism for young people to hold their Corporate Parents to account, ensuring that services are tailored and responsive to their needs and take into account the kinds of vulnerabilities they may have as a result of their experiences before, during and after care.
Using this approach, we expect Corporate Parents and their Third Sector partners in a defined geographical area to work to redesign services based on the priorities identified by young people
The Champions Board funding initiative is a pivotal one as it is anticipated that this will drive transformational and sustainable progress on improving outcomes for care experienced young people in relation to housing, education, employment, health and wellbeing, youth justice and relationships.
By investing in the Champions Board model we hope to build capacity in a number of ways:
- individually, amongst care experienced young people, whose confidence and skills will develop
- collectively, linking care experienced young people together, providing a focus for engagement work and complementing the delivery of Who Cares? Scotland and other agencies who support group work and participation of care experienced young people
- at community level, by improving public understanding of care experienced young people and making these young people more visible
- among service providers and Corporate Parents, whose insight into the lives of care experienced young people will strengthen and whose access to creative, young people-led solutions will improve, driving more rapid and effective improvements to the support they provide
The Trust has invested a total of £2.3 million in Champions Boards between 2016 and 2019, and the funded Boards have formed their own network which meets every six months. Have a look at them in action.
Outcomes we'd like to see
Trust funded Champions Boards are committed to contributing to the following outcomes for care experienced young people:
Care experienced young people benefit from involvement in Champions Boards
- care experienced young people develop positive relationships through Champions Boards and related support
- care experienced young people become active in their communities
- care experienced young people develop the confidence and skills to influence policy/practice relating to their lives
Organisations Strengthen Their Commitment, Knowledge, Skills and Capacity
- the conditions are in place for relationship-based practice
- corporate Parents and service providers have improved understanding of the needs and aspirations of care experienced young people
- more organisations working with care experienced young people can demonstrate meaningful participation of care experienced young people in planning and supporting improvements
Policy and Practice Become More Responsive to Care Experienced Young People
- care experienced young people, and those engaged with them (practitioners, carers, volunteers), have influence on decisions that affect them
- policy and practice is increasingly responsive to the needs and aspirations of care experienced young people
- partners work together effectively across sectors and services to implement agreed changes in policy and practice
Public Awareness and Attitudes Become Increasing Positive towards Care Experienced Young People
- the issues facing care experienced young people are more visible and better understood by members of the public
- the work of the Champions Board inspires local communities in their interaction with, and support for care experienced young people
Care Experienced Young People Benefit from Service Improvements
- care experienced young people (CEYP) live in a place that suits their needs (accommodation)
- CEYP have improved educational attainment (education)
- CEYP have improved employment opportunities (employment)
- CEYP live healthy lives (health and wellbeing)
- CEYP live their lives free from crime, disorder and danger (criminal justice)